Duck Confit

The process of creating confit is an ancient technique used to preserve meat in the days before refridgeration.

The meat is very slowly cooked bathed in its own fat. As thetempearture of the fat melts within the meat but isn’t rendered out the resulting meat is fall apart tender and full of flavour.

Confit meat should be looked upon as an ingredient and not an end point.

Duck confit can be used as a dish on its own of course, crisped up in a hot oven. Equally it can be shredded into a perigord salad with walnuts and bitter leaves or added to a cassoulet.

Duck confit usually uses the legs as the breasts (magret) are reserved for other uses.

Other bits can be confit most notably the gizzards – an extremely lean and dense meat which again is the traditional addition to a perigord salad.

Here is a simple recipe for confit de canard using duck legs. Many store bought ducks have less fat than the traditional farmyard duck that this was intended for. Even so they still produce excellent confit. you may have to get a tin or jar of extra fat though. Chinese supermarkets may breeder ducks available. Not only are these older birds inexpensive they carry thick fat and are perfect for this use.

The carcass can be slow roasted and the breasts shredded. The rendered fat can be used to complete the confit.

Recipe:

  • 2-4 duck legs
  • maldon/ kosher salt
  •  dried thyme (pinch)

Liberally cover the duck legs witha good quality crystal salt and thyme

Leave in fridge for 24 hours. Wash off and dry the legs with kitchen paper.

IMG_9672
Preparing Duck leg confit. the salted legs are washed and patted dry. This is a mature domestic duck (Pekin) with a good thick fat layer and dark rich meat.

Put in a slow cooker fully covered in duck fat.  Set it on low and leave for 4-8 hours.

IMG_9682
Confit duck straight out of the slow cooker. these have been lifed very carefully as the meat is fall apart. they will be covered in the fat they have cooked in for the last 8 hours and then be covered and stored in the fridge for a week. 

Swich off  and allow to cool. can store under the layer of fat for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. if frozen in the fat will keep well.

(This can be done sous vide – put v cold solid duck  fat and the legs in vac packed bags – cook at 75 degrees C for 12+ hours). *I dont think its any better than in slow cooker.)

Use as you wish but here are a few suggestions:

  • Salad perigordine
  • duck and tomatillo tacos 
  • crisped up and served with duck sarladaise
  • duck cottage pie
  • as a version of chinese crispy duck with the trimmings
  • with garlicky cannellini or flagelot beans
  • cassoulet
  • duck on lentils
  • duck rillettes
  • or more at the fantastic d’Artagnan site

(I will add more links to recipes…)

 

 

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